Criminal Defence and Police Investigations

"The KN team are one of the best known, oldest and highly regarded teams in this area of work. They get first rate work and deliver excellent results."

Legal 500 UK 2021

We are recognised as the leading criminal defence firm in the UK.  We represent clients at police station interviews through to proceedings at the Magistrates’ and Crown Court.  Our reputation is based on over 80 years of discreetly yet fearlessly providing the highest quality legal advice and representation to our clients.


We represent a wide range of clients, including young people, professionals and well-known individuals in government, sports, media, entertainment and financial industries, for whom a criminal investigation can have devastating reputational, personal, financial and professional consequences. We work closely with our reputation and media lawyers to provide a seamless comprehensive service.

Accused of a criminal offence

Contacting us as soon as you become aware of a police investigation increases the opportunity to resolve the matter quickly and discreetly.  We will seek to avoid an arrest and protect you from the resulting potentially damaging consequences, such as oppressive bail conditions and restriction on your current or future travel.

We know that the police interview is often the most significant aspect of a criminal case.  Getting the right advice at this stage is crucial.  Our experienced police station advisers will carefully guide you through this challenging process.

For cases that go to court, we examine every detail to ensure the best possible outcome.  Working alongside barristers and expert witnesses, we ensure that every legal or evidential point is carefully considered. This approach has seen our clients enjoy a high acquittal rate. Where a conviction cannot be avoided, we ensure that mitigation is advanced to maximise the chances of the most lenient sentence.

Kingsley Napley is ranked in Band 1 for Crime by both Chambers  and Partners and Legal 500.

"The ‘first-rate’ team at Kingsley Napley LLP is ‘efficient, strategic, committed and able to handle the most complex of criminal cases as well as more general crime cases’. It advises corporations and individuals on sexual offences, violent crimes, drug offences, firearms offences, extradition and high-profile matters with an international element."

Legal 500 UK 2019 

"They very much embrace the need to look at the whole situation; they look at the media exposure - for people in the public eye and for a particular type of high net worth individual, that's very important and I've seen them handle that side of things very well. They're one of those few firms that would give clients a genuine round-the-clock service, seven days a week"

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2018

Examples of recent work

Examples of work and clients our criminal litigation lawyers have include representing:

  • High profile individuals relating to historic sex offences and #MeToo allegations
  • An individual facing #MeToo allegations and becoming a victim of blackmail
  • A high profile individual facing potential criminal liability in the UK for US data breaches
  • A high profile television personality charged with a driving offence
  • An individual prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving
  • An individual subject to police investigation relating to harassment causing psychological injuries
  • An internationally-recognised artist investigated for domestic assault
  • An individual charged with and investigated for conspiracy of rape
  • A partner in an international law firm facing accusations of sexual misconduct in the workplace
  • A high-profile professional sportsperson for a speeding offence
  • A youth charged with attempted murder while under the influence of drugs
  • An individual convicted of rape in an appeal against conviction based on disclosure issues



A dynamic team that shows good attention to detail."

Chambers UK 2021

Kingsley Napley has real strength and expertise at all levels of the crime group. The team is hard-working, focused on getting results and yet maintains the human touch."

Legal 500 UK 2020

The crime department is the best I have ever worked with. They are unsurpassed in the way they work as a team on their cases - it's a very well-drilled, slick operation."

Chambers UK 2020

The very strong team acts for individuals and corporations in cases concerning driving offences, extradition, sexual offences, fraud and matters with international elements."

Legal 500 UK 2020

They are able to draw on expertise across the firm to provide a seamless service - if you are facing criminal allegations they can also handle the media, as well as any employment issues or regulatory proceedings that may arise."

Chambers UK 2020

They have a stellar reputation but they are also approachable and a pleasure to work with. They are very sensible and give good advice to both counsel and clients."

Chambers and Partners, 2019

Leading criminal team that demonstrates impressive strength in depth across a broad range of cases. Regularly acts on high-profile cases involving well-known public figures. Highly recommended for its handling of complex murder charges and historic sexual abuse investigations."

Chambers UK 2019, A Client's guide to the UK Legal Profession

They stand out because of their ability to stop a case before it gets started. Their commitment, preparation and tenacity set them apart. They are a strong firm. Their various departments work in harmony and deliver the same high-quality work."

Chambers UK 2018, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

They pick up some fantastic work, they have some fantastic clients and they have a skill of trying to get rid of matters before they go too far."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2018

They are determined to do the best for their clients at all times and leave absolutely no stone unturned. It is a brilliant defence frm."

Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"They have a very sophisticated high net worth practice and a real sensitivity to the kind of issues that high net worth individuals face."

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2018

Their reputation as being the pre-eminent solicitors in this market is deserved. They are justifiably instructed in infamous, heavyweight cases and I can't imagine that anyone is ever dissatisfied with the service they receive."

Chambers UK, 2017

The crime team is first-rate. They are dedicated, hard working and tireless in their preparations of cases."

Chambers UK, 2017

First-class firm in terms of client care, as well as its thorough and meticulous approach to case preparation, both at pre-charge stage and at trial."

Legal 500 UK, 2017

"It is an excellent firm - the level of preparation for cases is just fantastic."                           

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"John Harding and David Sleight lead the ‘top-flight’ team at Kingsley Napley LLP...Sandra Paul also comes highly recommended ."

Legal 500

''...Kingsley Napley LLP’s ‘high-end practice’ is part of the firm’s criminal law team, and able to draw on this expertise to handle enforcement actions for its individual and growing corporate client base...''

Legal 500 UK

"Kingsley Napley is pre-eminent at what it does: high-end, complex criminal work for high-profile individuals."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

"One of the most highly regarded criminal defence firms, noted for its high-profile mandates from media organisations and sports professionals."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession


Further information

If you are accused of a criminal offence or you have any questions, please contact a member of our criminal litigation team or call us on 020 7814 1200 to speak with us in confidence.


Highly collaborative and team based in everything they do. Friendly and down to earth while also being world class. Uniquely able to bring together the brightest and the best but without being pompous or superior in their attitude. Great listeners, hard workers and tactically the best in the business."

Legal 500 UK 2021

The lawyers on the crime team are relentlessly good at what they do. They have a collaborative approach and are incredibly thorough and detailed in their work."

Chambers UK 2021

KN are exceptional in almost all categories! They are streaks ahead of everyone else and provide a very high level of service. If I were in trouble that’s where I would go.  I like the fact they are genuinely committed to providing excellence even on less lucrative cases or on cases of less seriousness. They completely get how serious every case is for a client . They unfailing do the very best for their clients."

Legal 500 UK 2021

In dealing with the firm, every aspect was outstanding and of the highest quality."

Chambers UK 2021


Sandra Paul discusses the complexities and challenges of dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace


Police Station Representation and Advice

Our team includes specialist police station advisers. We are proactive in achieving the best outcomes for our clients.

Sexual Offences

We deal with the highest profile and most sensitive cases, providing expert advice and support to both individuals and companies.

Sports, Media and High Profile Personalities

For over 75 years, our lawyers have discreetly advised public figures in some of the highest profile cases of the last century. Our lawyers understand the pressures of being in the public eye and seek to shield our clients from the often intrusive media glare.

Appeals and Miscarriages of Justice

We recognise that the criminal justice system is fallible. To be convicted of an offence or otherwise be the subject of any adverse finding is hurtful and frustrating.

Court Proceedings

The decision about which court your case should be heard in is an important one, read more about frequently asked questions relating to court proceedings.

Cyber Crime

Whether you are facing an investigation or prosecution or are the target of such activity, our cyber crime lawyers can help.


There is a myth that sharing drugs amongst friends is OK. When you pass a drug to someone else, even if it is not for money, this amounts to supply.


Our weapons and firearms legislation consists of a complicated labyrinth of law that dating back to 1968. We have successfully guided novices through to firearms enthusiasts giving advice as to the best course to take. Our criminal law team includes specialist advisers with an interest and expertise in this specialist area.

Harassment and Other Familial Allegations

From allegations dealing with the threat of violence or the ever-changing landscape of stalking and harassment to new offences, such as controlling or coercive behaviour and revenge porn our internationally recognised expert solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients accused of offences within personal relationships.

Assault, Murder and Other Offences Involving Violence

Our lawyers have a wealth of experience in dealing with allegation of serious crime including offences against the person such as assault, murder and manslaughter throughout the life of a case from the police station through to trial.

Youth Crime and the Law

Our experienced youth crime lawyers are committed to understanding your child and finding a solution that protects their reputation.

Serious Road Traffic Offences

The law relating to driving offences is amongst the most complex in criminal law. Many people rely on their vehicles for their jobs or their families. Losing your licence can have devastating effects on all aspects of your life. Should you find yourself subject to a police investigation or summons, it is vital that you obtain professional legal advice as quickly as possible.

Blackmail and Extortion

Should you find yourself the victim of extortion or are accused of threatening someone, you should seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

Simple Cautions FAQs

We answer some of the most frequently asked questions asked about simple cautions

Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Offences

Whether advising corporates or individuals caught up in investigations, to conducting internal investigations for companies or advising individuals affected by those internal investigations, we help our clients steer a course through the challenges.

Restraint Orders, Confiscation and Third Party Rights

We advise individuals and corporates in relation to restraint orders and third party applications in respect of property caught by restraint orders.

Medical Cannabis: Licensing and Investment

We advise corporates and individuals on all aspects of investing and licensing in cannabis industry.

Dawn Raids, Search and Seizure

When subject to a “Dawn Raid”, search and seizure operation and search order you require timely advice. Our specialist lawyers can provide the assistance you require.

Private Prosecutions

Private prosecutions provide a useful legal remedy for companies, regulators and individuals to pursue criminal proceedings.

Sexual Misconduct in the Workplace

We advise organisations and individuals dealing with sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Victims and Witnesses of Crime

Being a witness or victim of crime can be a challenging experience. We guide victims and witnesses through the criminal justice system.

Political Affairs

Our international work includes dealing with the suite of issues that may arise from politically motivated persecutions.

Criminal Defence and Police Investigations Insights

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Odey verdict shows challenges of decades-old assault cases - Sandra Paul quoted in various sources

Jill Lorimer quoted in various sources following FCA decision to ban three financial professionals for non-financial misconduct

Tackling Illicit Finance - Ed Smyth writes for STEP Journal

Is the grass always greener? The legalities of investing in cannabis for UK Investors - Nicola Finnerty writes for Investment Week

Clothing fibres can transfer without contact, study finds, posing issues for future criminal investigations - Nicola Finnerty quoted in The Telegraph

Pace Odyssey - Matthew Hardcastle quoted in The Law Society Gazette

Enhanced threat of director disqualification for breaches of competition law - Jonathan Grimes writes for Financial Director

Sex, lies and legal consent: Can deceit turn sex into rape? - Sandra Paul comments in BBC News

Jason Lawrance appeals against vasectomy lie rape convictions - Sandra Paul comments in BBC News

UK prosecutor handed £85m funding injection - Louise Hodges quoted

Opening statement in police interviews is still an important strategy - Matthew Hardcastle co-authors article in The Law Society Gazette

Digital strip search: How everything from Facebook messages to Fitbit data could be used against you in court - Sandra Paul quoted in The Telegraph

Sir Cliff Richard and Paul Gambaccini urge anonymity in sex cases - Sandra Paul quoted in The Times

Rape victims will be allowed to give evidence in advance - Will Hayes quoted in The Times

Digital strip search: How everything from Facebook messages to Fitbit data could be used against you in court - Sandra Paul comments in The Telegraph

Jeff Bezos has given a masterclass in how to respond to blackmail - Sandra Paul comments in Wired

Sandra Paul speaks on BBC Radio 4 Today programme about workplace cultures and clarity around acceptable behaviour

C5 notices: a dangerous new tool - Áine Kervick writes for The Law Society Gazette

Managing divorce in the shadow of criminal proceedings - Alexandra Bishop and Nick Dent write for The Review

Unduly lenient sentences - Nick Dent writes for Law Society Gazette

Sextortion: beware the new form of cyber blackmail - Sandra Paul quoted in Spear's

View all


Drones – the ultimate or problematic Christmas gift?

The new Sentencing Code - what is it?

Outcome 22: are the police utilising this important diversionary tool or leaving it on the shelf?

Justice delayed is justice denied for clients in lockdown limbo

GOWISELY: Time to stop and think about stop and search

Serious Injury by Careless Driving: How Competent Are You?

Law regarding consent is not confused, wrong or unfair - Sandra Paul writes for The Law Society Gazette

I May Destroy You, Part 3: A study of sexual assault - Voyeurism, Revenge Porn, Youth Justice and False Allegations

I May Destroy You, Part 2: A study of sexual assault - Kwame: Consent and Deception

I May Destroy You, Part 1: A study of sexual assault - Stealthing

Legal limbo for children: The risks of turning 18

Policing the power of entry

COVID-19: Distinguishing crime

COVID-19 - Criminal justice at the coalface

Policing Domestic Abuse in the age of Austerity and “Lockdown”

The Coronavirus Bill: Can justice be done by video link?

COVID-19: Managing health and risk whilst in police custody - an update

COVID-19 - Managing health and risk whilst in police custody

Review of the reforms to pre-charge bail – is the law the problem?

Challenging the prosecution of weak cases and the lack of anonymity for those accused of sexual offences

Assisted Suicide – forgiveness or permission?

Criminalising children – at what age and what cost?

Pre trial cross-examination of sexual offence complainants

Does accessing mobile data of rape victims threaten their right to privacy?

Sentences for young people should take account of their maturity

Coming soon: the Domestic Abuse Bill

The use of force against intruders – the blurry lines of ‘lawful killing’

“Stealthing” conviction brings conditional consent out in the open

Widening the net: investigating and prosecuting offences overseas

On the cliff edge: Do we need formal sentencing guidelines for ‘young adults’?

Eastenders explores rape: Part 5 - what happens when a complainant wants to "drop the case"?

Sex Dolls: New Guidance but No Clarity

Tongue splitting, ear removal and branding - the limits of consent as a defence to extreme body modification (Part II)

“GPS tagging”: real time monitoring of individuals

Victims of blackmail: will your identity be protected?

Lie detection tests for convicted domestic abuse offenders is a costly distraction

Responding to blackmail if you are not Jeff Bezos

Sex for rent / rent for sex - revised CPS guidance

Eastenders explores rape: Part 4 – what happens when someone is accused of rape?

Socially engineered juries....what next?

Prosecuting rape cases and serious sexual assaults: the debate continues

Changes to the Code for Crown Prosecutors

Ensuring crime doesn’t pay: confiscation regime under review

ICO secures first prosecution under Computer Misuse Act

Indecent images – are the police about to embark upon a new approach?

New guidance for prosecutors will make the slow grind of our legal system worse

C5 notices – extrajudicial punishment or innovative policing?

EastEnders explores rape: Part 1 - consent is more complicated than ‘yes’ or ‘no’

Fresher’s Week – what consent is and why drunkenness is not a defence

Search warrants at banks in the UK: what you need to know

How to bring an allegation of sexual misconduct in the workplace

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